Languages › French French Silent Letters and Pronunciation Share Flipboard Email Print Tetra Images/Getty Images French Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Grammar Resources For Teachers By ThoughtCo Updated February 21, 2020 One of the difficulties with French pronunciation is that it is not a phonetic language. A phonetic language (e.g., Spanish, Arabic) is one in which each letter has a single corresponding sound; in other words, spelling matches the pronunciation. Other languages, like French and English, are not phonetic: they have letters that can be pronounced in different ways or sometimes not at all. There are three categories of silent letters in French. E muet / ElisionH muet and aspiréFinal consonants This lesson will focus on final consonants; follow the links to the right for detailed explanations of the silent letters E and H. The basic rule of French pronunciation is that the final consonant is not pronounced, but there are many exceptions, which are what this lesson is about.* The letters B, C, F, K, L, Q, and R are usually pronounced at the end of a word. Tip: Since B, K, and Q are rare as final consonants, some people find it helpful to use the word CaReFuL to remember the most common of the usually pronounced final consonants. Usually pronounced Some exceptions* B le Maghrebun snobun club le plomb C un trucun flicavec un estomac, un tabac, le porcnasal vowel + c: un banc, blanc F actifun chefun oeuf un nerf, une clef, oeufs K un anorakun lookle bifteck L ilavrilun hôtelun bol gentil, outil; vowel + -il: à l'appareil, un oeil The other French consonants are usually silent at the end of a word, with some exceptions. Tip: Many exceptions are proper names or words borrowed from other languages. Usually silent Some exceptions* D froidchaudd'accord sud; Proper names: David, Alfred G le sanglong le grog M, N unbalconparfum Latin words: amen, forum P un drapbeaucoupun champ un slip, un cap S exprèstroisvousbas un fils, un autobus, le tennis T etabricotsalutvingt brut, ouest, huit; -ct ending: direct, strict; -pt ending: concept, sept X deuxun prixun époux six, index, Aix Z chezle riz le gaz Note: The words plus and tout have their own pronunciation rules. Using Enchainement in French Pronunciation Learn Proper French Pronunciation With Liaisons Understanding the French Language and Using IPA How to Conjugate the Irregular French Verb "Haïr" How to Pronounce More Than 2,500 Words in French Why Spanish Isn't Easier to Learn Than French Beginning French Pronunciation Top French Pronunciation Mistakes and Difficulties How Is the Letter 'A' Pronounced in French? Introduction to Pronouncing the French Alphabet French Pronunciation of the Letter H French Consonants - Consonnes françaises How to Fake a French Accent Tips to Improve Your French Pronunciation French Pronunciation: Ai and Ais How Is 'S' Pronounced in French?